"A Ring of Truth"
What You Need To Know:
TINY FURNITURE is well acted and has a ring of truth. For example, it accurately depicts the lives of aimless artists who were spoiled by their parents’ divorce and having too many of their needs coddled throughout their lives. The deadpan tone and dialogue may seem odd, but it has a funny charm. TINY FURNITURE shines a light on a subset of unchurched young adults with empty lives and no faith. The movie’s lewd content warrants extreme caution, however.
(H, PaPa, B, LL, V, SS, N, A, DD, MM) Light humanist worldview with some strong pagan immorality about the humorously pathetic life of a woman who has just graduated from a highbrow college with a useless liberal arts degree, but also containing some moral elements as movie depicts the emptiness of a life without faith and protagonist reconciles with her mother; at least 40 obscenities and profanities, including several GDs and many “f” and “s” words; light slapstick violence, including image of a dead hamster in a refrigerator; strong sexual content includes a fully clothed depicted sex scene occurs outdoors inside a construction-site metal pipe and is played as humorously pathetic and some crude language; upper male nudity of a male character shown in bed without his shirt on several times; female protagonist and man drink several bottles of wine against her mother’s wishes and without her knowledge, although they are of age and the drinking is mostly offscreen; smoking and discussion of drug use in a couple of scenes, with protagonist even trying to meet a guy she likes to give him prescription drugs he shouldn’t be having, though the arrangement falls through; and, protagonist casually lies and deceives her mom and others about having a houseguest, argues with her teenage sister and generally drifts through life with a victimized attitude.
TINY FURNITURE is the debut of writer-director-star Lena Dunham, a 24-year-old who clearly has talent in depicting the lives of neurotic New Yorkers in the Woody Allen vein. Reportedly, she impressively made the movie on a miniscule $50,000 budget –$25,000 for shooting and $25,000 in post-production improvements, with a couple of big stars.
TINY follows the aimless misadventures of Aura, a new college graduate who has no idea what to do with her life. She moves in with her artistic mother (played by Dunham’s real-life mother, Laurie Simmons) and younger sister Nadine (played by Dunham’s real-life sister, Grace) in Manhattan. Then, she gets a dead-end job as a hostess in a restaurant, where she pines for nearly any guy who catches her eye yet never attracts any serious interest in response.
Along the way, Aura hangs out with her best friend, Charlotte (Jemima Kirke in a comically jazzed-up performance). She also tries to make a move on a ridiculously lazy male poet (Alex Karpovsky), whom she allows to stay in her mom’s room while the mom and sister are away on a business trip. Then, Aura has awkward and humorously embarrassing sex with a complete jerk who just wanted to use her as a connection to prescription drugs. At the end, having lost her dignity several times over, Aura emotionally reconciles with her mother. It becomes clear she’s going to be moving into her mom’s apartment for quite some time to come, her life still unresolved with no direction but at least on a more solid footing with her mother.
TINY FURNITURE is well acted and has the ring of truth from start to finish, as far as depicting the lives of aimless artists who were spoiled by their parents’ divorce and having too many of their needs coddled throughout their lives. The deadpan tone and dialogue may seem odd to fans of big mainstream movies, but for those who enjoy character-driven, independent films, this is a clear winner. It may not depict the kind of hard-working characters we like people to be, but it does shine a light on a subset of unchurched young adults and reminds us of the joy we receive from faith while accurately depicting the frequent emptiness felt by those who have no faith. The movie’s lewd content warrants extreme caution, however.